Stratford-upon-Avon

High Street, Stratford-upon-Avon.

Stratford-upon-Avon is an historic town on the river Avon in the English county of Warwickshire, best known as the home town of the great English playwright and poet, William Shakespeare. Today, it is a major theatre-going destination as the home of the Royal Shakespeare Company. As such, it represents one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country.

Understand

Stratford-upon-Avon has its origins in the Saxon culture of medieval England (the name "straet-ford" indicates that it was a river crossing). For many centuries it was little more than a small market town on the road to London; even today, it has only 24,000 permanent residents. Though it has developed some industrial capacity, Stratford is now known mostly for its association with Shakespeare. The town benefits tremendously from the resulting tourism and cultural activity, and has gone to great lengths to preserve those buildings that have survived since Shakespeare's time. As a result the centre of town is quaint and attractive, drawing many thousands of tourists each year to its cultural and historical amenities.

Get in

By car

To get to Stratford-upon-Avon from London, take the M40 motorway and get off at Junction 15. Distance 102 miles (164 km), journey time approximately 2 hours. See also the town's Park and Ride website.

By train

Stratford-upon-Avon train station is located around half a mile west of the town centre. The town is easily accessible by foot from the station. There are regular services to Birmingham Snow Hill station (around an hour), Warwick (around 30 minutes) and London Marylebone (around two and a half hours). If travelling from London, you might need to change at Leamington Spa station. Wikivoyage has a guide to Rail travel in the United Kingdom.

Get around

Town map

Cycling is a great way to see Stratford and the surrounding area. The Stratford Greenway is 5 miles of traffic free cycle track just on the edge of town.

Stratford upon Avon is a small compact town and it is very easy to walk to all the shops and attractions. The daily guided Stratford Town Walk passes the major attractions, including a visit to Holy Trinity Church. This is a good way of understanding the layout of the town. There is also an open top bus tour taking in some of the town centre. It then travels out of town in the local countryside to see Anne Hathaway's Cottage in Shottery and Mary Arden's House in Wilmcote.

For anyone unable to walk, you can hire a mobility scooter from Shopmobility, located on the ground floor of the Bridgefoot multi-storey car park.

See

Shakespeare's Birthplace
Holy Trinity Church

Do

The Royal Shakespeare Theatre

Walks and tours

Relax

Buy

Almost needless to say, Stratford is one of the best places to stock up on your Shakespeare memorabilia and paraphernalia. Many town centre shops do a brisk trade in general English souvenirs as well.

On most summer Sundays there is a craft-market on the Waterside. The produce isn't particularly local though.

Eat

Drink

The Dirty Duck

Sleep

Go next

Warwick - One of Britain's most famous and best preserved castles.

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Wednesday, July 22, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.